By the time this week of football is over the Presidential election will be one day from being over, the World Series will be over as well as daylight savings time. You know what won’t be over? You’re fantasy season.
There are 5 weeks to go in the regular season for most standard fantasy leagues and winning out would sure go a long ways in propelling most of us into the playoffs. This week could be bad though. There are 6 teams on a bye, which could be really bad for some of you.
Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England and Washington are all off in Week 9. No matter how you look at it, that adds up to a lot of fantasy football points that are sitting on the bench this week. So what can we do to help remedy the holes in our lineups?
Hopefully you have played well and planned up to this point so it won’t be an issue, but if you are like most of us, injuries, trades and off-field high jinks have kept your roster from being the perfectly well-oiled fantasy machine that you were hoping for and planning on at the beginning of the year.
If you are part of the latter group then you are in luck as this week’s waiver actually presents quite a few nice options in every position. As always, let’s start with quarterbacks.
Nick Foles looked great this last weekend in relief for Alex Smith. In case you didn’t watch the game, Smith got hit in the 1st quarter and left for a few series. Then in the second quarter, Smith got hit again and after that one the word concussion was thrown around. They shut Smith down at that point and Foles came in.
Foles, in essentially 3 quarters, threw for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is available in 100% of leagues and the Chiefs play Jacksonville next week. You have to pick him up off of waivers this week, right? Well, on second thought, he might not be that smart of a play.
Alex Smith passed all concussion protocols during the game. According to the coaching staff, the benching was for precautionary measures as he had taken a few hard shots and they were concerned about the “C” word. As mentioned however, he passed all protocols during the game which means he’s not even on concussion protocol this week which means he will be playing next week and Foles will be back on the bench.
Now, pay attention, because sometimes things creep up later in the week and if for some unseen reason they sit Smith this week, Foles would be an amazing bye week fill-in going against the Jags. Since the odds of this are low, I am instead going to tell you to instead look in the direction of one of the league’s best offenses.
Landry Jones is available in 98% of leagues after having a bye week this last week, but the Steelers’ QB, in replacement of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, threw for 281 yards and 1 touchdown in his debut the week before.
Now he has had a week off to work with the first team offense with explosive pieces like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. They play Baltimore this week and he could be a really nice pick up until Big Ben comes back which could be another 7 weeks.
They do play a tough defense in their true rival Baltimore this week, which might make some shy away, but I’m telling you do not let that deter you. Pittsburgh has an amazing offense and they are coming off the bye. Jones will most likely put up the best numbers of all QBs available on the waiver wire and has potential to break the Top 10 every week.
Josh McCown also presents an interesting case, although, he does have some concerns where Jones does not. First the good, McCown is available in 97% of leagues and threw for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns last weekend. Let’s also add that he plays Dallas this week and you definitely have a player that is enticing on the waiver wire.
The problem is he also threw 2 picks and most his stats came in garbage time minutes. I feel you should overlook the problems as the yardage and touchdowns easily cover up for the picks, and in the world of fantasy, garbage time still counts.
Pick up McCown and he could really help you. He does come with one warning though, pay attention as the week goes on because there are rumors that the 2 picks he threw, which effectively cost the team the game, might have been the straw that broke coach Hue Jackson’s back and he just may be thinking of giving the starting job back to the rookie Cody Kessler. These are rumors floating around as of now but keep and eye on them so you are not surprised.
This is the time of the year that picking running backs off the waiver wire is like going through a clearance rack hours after the sale started, there’s just not a whole lot left, however, Robert Kelley had a very nice outing this week, let’s take a look at him.
Kelley filled in for lead running back Matt Jones this week and did so very nicely. He rushed for 87 yards on 21 carries and found the end zone once as well. He is also available in 77% of leagues.
He is going into a bye week and then when he comes out of it will be facing a Minnesota defense that has sort of been embarrassed over the last two weeks. He seems like a good pickup, but with a bye week this week and then Minnesota, Kelley faces an uphill battle as Jones will most likely be back and it will be either back to the bench or the lesser side of a timeshare, it is safe to say that you should pass on Kelley and consider Tim Hightower instead.
As a Mark Ingram owner I have watched the emergence of Hightower over the last 3 weeks all the way to this week in which Ingram got the ball popped out of his arms in a pile up and never sniffed the field again. Thanks Sean Peyton, shouldn’t you be doing a ticket-scalping commercial or something?
Anyhow, those who got to watch Peyton rip their hearts out got to see Hightower, who is available in 98% of leagues run for 102 yards on 26 carries. It was a very nice outing and as long as Peyton is keeping the lock on Ingram’s dog house, which there is no reason to believe he is not at this point, then you can assume that Hightower is going to be getting a nice share next week against the San Francisco 49ers, which as we all know, does wonders for a fantasy team.
Mike Gillislee also has turned our attention his way over the last 4 weeks by scoring 3 times over that span including once this last week.
Gillislee is still available in 43% of leagues and got only 12 carries last week but turned them in to 85 yards and 1 touchdown. He does face the Seahawks next week which is an uphill battle for sure, but every time he has had to fill-in for LeSean McCoy, he has done so very nicely. That alone makes him worth a pickup for desperate owners and as a really nice stash just in case Shady goes down again.